Glossary: This should be a ‘page’ when I remember how to do it!!
This list could go on for some time! Many websites as well as texts and literary notes contain glossaries of terms current and historic. These are my understanding of the terms, others may vary a little. I compile this as a reminder and update as and when:
Classical For me this sits in the Miltonic period and earlier when subjects were, as they say, classics based. Has to include likes of Greek and Latin works too.
Concrete (shaped/visual) Apollinaire among first to use words (poetry) within or as part of illustration but now, often, overall poem shape using words/line lengths is in the shape of the poem subject.
Contemporary A moving away from Modernism with such as free verse and stream of consciousness in style and subject of ‘today’………. moving into the ever changing styles of such as Street, Rap, grime, hip-hop. etc etc which fit into ‘performance’ and song for today’s poets. Suggestion and ambiguity of ideas often used.
Georgian Style moving away from Victorian motifs, becoming more natural and sometime urban. (King George….)
Imagist A style often promoted by (invented by) Pound and Eliot as one by new poets of the day.
Metaphysical Much about the sub-text and it’s spiritual or mystical meanings
Modernism From turn into 20th century . Originally styled to make a conscious break from traditional romantic styles and to have less emotion, more logic. (T S Eliot)
Pastoral (on Nature) Rural, countryside. Wordsworth fits here and Clare
Performance. Considered a late 20th and 21st C style but poets always ‘performed’ their work within there own peer group but maybe not to wider audience. Theatre and MusicHall produced much performance poetry, now likely called monologue. Eg Stanley Holloway, Joyce Grenville, Pam Eyres……..Kate Tempest
Romantic (on Nature and the Golden Age) such as Wordsworth, Coleridge et al
War Poets* (usually relating to WW1 poetry developing more ‘realistic’ images but as time passes includes WW2 and other conflicts plus poems of events by combatants and survivors). Many significant poets and poems from WW1 especially.
……… Form of poems:………
Poem Composition in verse where rhythm and rhyme intend to produce an emotional response. Speech rhythm often mainstay in most memorable poems.
Acrostic Where the first (most commonly) or last letters of a line spell, going down, a name, word or phrase.
Ballad Simple poem (or song) usually in four line stanzas. Eg folk song
Blank verse Lines in iambic pentameter (as a norm) or regular metrical rhythms without end of line rhymes
Elegy Formal, often mourning/mournful poem on classical subject, using couplets of hexameter and pentameter lines or two stanzas of four iambic pentameter, rhyming abab.
Epic Long narrative poem that tells of heroic events in an ‘heroic’ style.
Free Verse Poetry that does not use the conventions of metre, rhyme, line length etc
Haiku Japanese poem of three lines containing five, seven and five syllables. On nature, usually ‘profound’ last line. (many variations exist). A poem to be spoken in a single breath is, I believe, the Japanese idea of its form.
Limerick Humorous poem in a five-line form. Using the particular rhythm and rhyme scheme.
Lyric A song or poem of thoughts and emotions of the ‘speaker’
Ode A poem intended to be sung, often long and addressed to something or someone.
Prose poem A poem with few or no line-breaks. May rely on rhythm only but also contain less obvious mid-line rhyme. See polyphonic prose.
Rondel French origin with format of 13 lines and specific rhyme scheme. 1st line repeated as last line.
Rondeau Fr. origin with format of 15 lines and specific rhyme scheme with first line phrase repeated in mid and last lines.
Saga Scandinavian epic form ( Anglo Saxon Beowolf also fits this)
Song Often for particular (folk/popular) tune of the day (historically)….. and today
Sonnet A poem of 14 lines, each containing a fomat of rhyme. Various: Shakespearean (most practised) or Petrachian or Spenserian but numerous other sub-names/formats around the world.
Villanelle A poem of 19 lines comprising 5 tercets and a quatrain. It has two rhythms within the poem
Allegory ‘Story’ with two meanings. The obvious one which also symbolises a deeper second meaning.
Allusion A passing ref. to another literary work or historical fact
Anthropomorphism Human qualities given to non-human objects…..see personification
Assonance Repetition of a vowel sound of words within a line
Alliteration Repetition of the first consonant of words in a line
Cadence The sound or emphasise of words and lines.
Caesura A pause in a line of verse, usually the middle.
Couplet A stanza of 2 lines
Enjambement Where the sense continues over a line-break, couplet or stanza
Envoi The concluding stanza of poems in a specific metrical form
Heroic couplets Lines of iambic pentameter rhymed in pairs
Hyperbole Extreme exaggeration to make a point
iamb Unit of metrical rhythm per word/line: see below.
iambic pentameter Ten syllables in a line, one stressed followed by one unstressed etc.
Irony Incongruity in what is expected and what actually happens
Juxtaposition Contrasting ideas placed together
Metre The pattern of syllables in a line. May vary through poem, see above.
Metaphors Word or phrase given to an object ( i.e. something is…….) which is literally not applicable
Muse Writer’s inspiration….not a subject of poem but maybe included in passing
Neologism, a A new word created for poem
Octave Stanza of 8 lines
Onomatopoeia Word sounding like its meaning, e.g.: hiss
Polyphonic prose A term invented by Amy Lowell. See above: prose poem
Personification Putting human characteristics into inanimate objects or animals
Pun A word used in a way which may give it two possible meanings
Quatrain Stanza of 4 lines
Refrain A chorus verse that is repeated between ‘main’ verses of a poem/song
Rhyme Words that sound similar but always in meaning, frequently at the end of lines. Eg clock/frock
Rhyme-scheme Pattern of rhyme at the end of lines in a verse/stanza and through the poem. System of letters ababc. etc is the usual method of notation.
Rhythm The regular sound-pattern…. syllables enforce different rhythms.
Sestet Stanza of 6 lines
Simile Comparing things….using ‘like’ and ‘as’
Stanza A unit, usually a verse in a poem
Stress Putting emphasis on a word or part word (syllable) Eg on ‘put’ in word putting.
Syllable A ‘sound-unit’ within a word. eg: Beg (one). Begun. (Two)
Symbolism Using a word to represent an abstract idea
Syntax The arrangement of words within a sentence/ line
Tercet Stanza of three lines
Trope Figure of speech where a word or expression is used in other than its literal sense
Verse A stanza: unit in a poem
* This, from the midst of WW1 was a vital moment, providing poems that did not romanticise War, developing as the realities of the mechanised war struck, literally, all theatres of servicemen. Most earlier poems to WW1 were written in a different times by different classes of people. Prior to this ‘war’ was highly romanticised for many political and social reasons. (There were exceptions, of course!). Other than ‘jingoism’, poems were usually written by those of ‘higher’ education and social standing. Today anthologies usually contain poems written that highlight the tragedy of war. However, the sad results of war were/are especially ‘popular’ in (traditional/folk) songs down the centuries; this is likely because it had major impact on individuals and families of the working/labouring/peasant classes. Some poets found their voices changed by family loss or understanding via the relative immediacy of the news and stories of those on leave or discharged. Plus the sheer volume of deaths and injuries. This is especially noticeable in the change of tone of many Poets during the First World War who lived feet away from death, destruction and mutilation. A tone that has continued ever since. Realism and all its variations hit deeper into the ‘literary’ classes, to put it over-simply, they had further to fall than those struggling at the lower levels of the class structure of the day.